Defense Secretary Dick Cheney on Monday defended his recommendation to close 43 U.S. military bases and scale back 28 others in the face of congressional charges that the list is politically-driven.

"This is a good-faith effort, and it is done without consideration to the party of the members who represent the districts," Cheney told the Base Closure and Realignment Commission at a Capitol Hill hearing.Cheney said the base closing proposals are based on the lessening Soviet threat to the West, fiscal problems at home and the planned 25 percent reduction in U.S. forces during the next five years. The commission must decide by July 1 whether to approve or amend the list before forwarding it to President Bush and Congress.